Story by Jessica Contrera
She crunched the cookies in her mouth, carefully mashing them into chunks. She spit. They made a plunk sound as they hit the toilet water. The worst, the absolute worst thing had happened, and now, Maureen was sure, this was her only option.
“Moommm,” she called down the stairs. “I puked!”
She could not show her face in the seventh grade. She had to play sick. All day she lay crumpled on the couch, replaying what he’d said to convince her.
You’re so beautiful.
Don’t be ashamed of your body.
I won’t show anyone.
Then, last night, when he admitted he’d shown the photo to a few people:
“Don’t even come to my funeral,” she texted him.
I’ll piss on your grave, b—-.
At least she had been wearing a bra and underwear. The camera flash reflected in the mirror had hidden her face, hadn’t it?
But he knew. And by the end of the day, everyone else would too.
It would be months before Maureen would learn she wasn’t the only girl who had fallen for his promises, who had trusted him.
She heard her dad come in from work. She heard the phone ring.
Then he was barreling out of the kitchen, the phone still in his hand. He stopped in the doorway to the living room. A sign above his head read, “Yesterday’s Memories Are Tomorrow’s Treasures.”
“Your principal called,” he said. “What pictures is he talking about?”
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